First Edition Advanced Dungeons & Dragons™ Character Creation
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4:  State the Character Alignment
  State the character alignment.  Certain classes have restrictions on alignment; some sub-races--specifically those of the hengeyokai--are also restricted.  Wizards of High Sorcery do not state alignment until a later level; however, since the alignment will affect the use of certain spells, the player should consider at this time what alignment the character is likely to take.  After recapping the race and class alignment restrictions, alignment will be explained in detail.

To recap the race and class requirements, beginning with the Hengeyokai sub-races:

 Alignment can best be illustrated as a tic-tac-toe board.  The top of the board is Good, and the bottom of the board is Evil.  The left side of the board is Law, and the right side is Chaos.  The middle between Law and Chaos, and between Good and Evil, is Neutral.  Thus, alignments combine to form nine combinations:  Lawful Good, Neutral Good, Chaotic Good, Lawful Neutral, True Neutral, Chaotic Neutral, Lawful Evil, Neutral Evil, Chaotic Evil.

  Law, generally, holds to the precept that structure is necessary to society, that it must be organized in order to survive.  Lawful characters generally reflect the concepts of authority in their own lives.  They are organized, capable of establishing and maintaining chains of command, giving and taking orders.  They will defend existing governments, even when they are manifestly "wrong" by some other standard.  They prefer strong governments such as monarchy over weaker forms such as democracy, and believe that order intrinsically permeates the universe.  It is the antithesis of Chaos.

  Chaos, generally, believes in the rights of individuals.  Those who adhere to this belief prefer randomness, and shun order.  While some of these presume to give orders, chaotics will rarely take orders except when a) unity is required temporarily to oppose some alternative threat, b) some threat of force sufficient to enforce obedience accompanies the order, or c) the order is something which the chaotic would do anyway, or at least is something which it would not be sensible to disobey (e.g., if the command is issued with the intent that the chaotic will do the opposite).  Chaotics prefer anarchy over government, and adhere to the maxim that the government which governs least governs best.  Chaos is the antithesis of Law.

  Good, in game terms, is the belief in the promotion of the general well-being of all creatures.  It is, at times, necessary that those who oppose this should be forcibly stopped, even killed; but those who are good will avoid causing unnecessary suffering, and will only resort to violence when it is necessary and justifiable.  In monetary terms, good characters tend to spread wealth around, and will only hoard money on the justification that the character will ultimately be able to use the money to further good, such as by buying a ship to pursue pirates, or building a keep or fortress to defend the local peasants, or constructing a chapel to further the worship of good deities and provide a focal point for charity.  It is the antithesis of Evil.

  Evil is characterized by selfishness and purpose.  It maintains that it is both important and correct that those who are worthy should succeed, while the weak and unworthy perish.  The efforts of good to distribute wealth generally are viewed as cheating the truly deserving.  Evil characters do not regard other characters--not even other evil characters--as worthy of respect.  They are always willing to take advantage of another's misfortune.  Any generous act, either by giving away treasure or by taking risks on behalf of another, must be justified by some advantage to the character taking the action.  Evil characters often believe that good and neutral characters are pretending they are not evil in order to fool others and gain an advantage.

  Good and Evil are usually referred to as the "moral" dimension or axis of alignment, while Law and Chaos are referred to as the "ethical" dimension or axis.  Thus neutralities may be distinguished as Moral Neutrality or Ethical Neutrality.

  Neutral is the denial of the values of Law and Chaos, or Good and Evil.  A character may be neutral in the moral dimension or the ethical dimension or both; neutrality in both dimensions is called True Neutral.  Neutrality takes three essential forms:  pragmatic, oblivious, and druidic.  The pragmatic neutral considers certain things to be merely tools, to be used to promote other values.  Thus, a Lawful (pragmatic) Neutral believes that good and evil are both useful tools in the promotion of Law, and a (pragmatic) Neutral Good believes that law and chaos may both be used to promote Good.  The oblivious neutral is unaware of the meaning of certain values. Thus, a Chaotic Neutral could be so dedicated to the notion of individual freedom, that good and evil are meaningless concepts used by others to cloud the essential issue of independence, and a Neutral Evil could imagine that ideas of Law and Chaos are merely the efforts of others to steal his wealth or power.  The Druidic Neutral believes that in the nature of the world, certain things are or should be in balance, either by design or by the continued conflicts of equal opposing forces.  Thus, a (Druidic) Neutral Good or a (Druidic) Neutral Evil would make an effort to balance structure and freedom, and a Lawful (Druidic) Neutral or Chaotic (Druidic) Neutral would similarly attempt to balance good and evil.

  True Neutral--or "Neutral Neutral"--is almost always druidic in both dimensions.  Druids (who give their name to this form) are always dedicated to promoting the balance of forces; other classes may be so.  To be an oblivious True Neutral requires an extremely low intelligence (referee's discretion, but not as high as 9), accompanied by a low wisdom (not above 12).  A pragmatic true neutral is almost impossible to adequately define.  If Law, Chaos, Good, and Evil are all tools to be used to promote some other value, what value is that?  (Randomness is part of Chaos, selfishness is part of Evil, and their reverses are part of their antitheses.)  However, it may be possible to be pragmatic or oblivious to one axis, and druidic to the other.  A True Neutral could use good and evil (pragmatically) to promote balance (druidically) between law and chaos, or (obliviously) regard law and chaos as sophistry which detracts from the pursuit of (druidic) balance between good and evil.  These options are not open to druids, who must maintain druidic neutrality in both the moral and the ethical dimensions.

  Alignments which are part neutral are generally more dedicated to that aspect of the alignment which is not neutral; those which combine one extreme with another (the "corner" alignments on the tic-tac-toe board) constantly play off one value against the other.  So for example, if a commander orders the character to kill someone whom the character believes may be innocent, the Lawful Neutral will almost always obey, and the Neutral Good will almost always disobey, but the Lawful Good must answer the moral dilemma:  Law or Good?  Similarly, if the order is to indefinitely detain and torture an enemy, the Chaotic Neutral will almost always refuse, and the Neutral Evil will almost always comply, but the Chaotic Evil faces the moral dilemma:  Evil or Chaos?

  However, no alignment is "easy" to play.  If it seems so, then the referee has failed to properly react to the character's choices.

  There is an "alignment quiz" on M. J. Young's Dungeons & Dragons materials.  If the player is uncertain what alignment his character should be, this might help clarify the questions involved.  Wei-Hwa Huang's wonderful CGI form version no longer exists in English, although there is a German version hosted by Xemaris.  There is also now a self-scoring Javascript version available on Mark J. Young's Dungeons & Dragons™ Materials.

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